With their fourth full-length album to be released in as many years, The Men proudly present the sweeping New Moon, their most intensely personal and immersive installment yet. Never content to draw on the same methods twice, nor to recline under the heel of expectation, The Men quit the city in early 2012 to head for Big Indian, NY — transforming a remote Catskills locale into a full-fledged stray dog studio home. Taking complete advantage of dry eyes and clear mountain mornings, the band has never before so thoroughly surrendered their writing process, or themselves for that matter, to the recording environment.
Entering with only the most skeletal sketches, the house was selected as an incubator for its technical limitations, 32-hour orbit and predisposal to celestial intervention. Familiar faces remain, the core of guitarists Nick Chiericozzi and Mark Perro, with drummer Rich Samis all returning from 2012’s much-acclaimed Open Your Heart. In addition, friend and producer Ben Greenberg (Pygmy Shrews, Hubble, Zs) officially joins the ranks as bassist on paper, and full-bore compositional partner in practice. Wayward brother Kevin Faulkner occupies his most substantial sphere to date, dreaming aloud on lap steel as before along with whatever else was demanded of him.
The Men’s oft-cited commitment to their “no-one-is-frontman” maxim surely insists itself all the more emphatically here… so much so that it practically creates a new band in the process. This unique situation induces a fresh fluidity amongst their roles and instrumentation, allowing for an expansion of palette and a contraction of focus. Piano, mandolin, harmonica, four-part vocal harmonies and even no-input harsh noise all weave their way through New Moon. Spiritually, it is hedged with as much leaden dirge and ecstatic abandon, as it is genuine saccharine steel-string levity, and an ever-tightening, no apologies pop concision. Summarily: New Moon is the remembrance of why green grass has to lean on the dirt beneath; it is a love letter devoted in bowed humility to the grand continuum, exposing the hoax of the great divide. Allegiances to the glowing patinas of Detroit and San Francisco, New York and Nashville all abound, but “nostalgia” is not her name. The essence of New Moon is to revisit — never retread. Vibrational bonds are the silver that comes to line the long road home.